The Chicago Cubs made a splash this month by hiring Theo Epstein, general manager of the Boston Red Sox, winners of two World Series titles in the last decade. Epstein is bringing with him to Chicago a veritable dream team of young, talented front office personnel, capable of turning around the dismal Cubs, who have not reached baseball's promised land in more than a century.
What Epstein has been tasked with, and is more than capable of doing as president of baseball operations with the Cubs, is re-working the Cubs' farm system and their methods of evaluating talent.
While the NFL doesn't employ an extensive youth development system like baseball does, the development of talent is vital to teams sustaining success.
The Bears' current general manager, Jerry Angelo, has been an obvious disappointment in the area of recognizing talent, both through the draft and free agency. His draft failures have been evident by the myriad released high-round draft picks, and continued sub-par performances by other picks, and these failures have forced the Bears to continually look to high-priced free agents.
With an aging defense already struggling for most of 2011, can Angelo be counted on to revamp this team through the NFL draft in years to come? His supposed specialty in spotting defensive talent has not produced any all-pros since Angelo drafted Lance Briggs in 2003.
In 2012, the McCaskey's and the Bears organization will be forced to spend more money under the new rules of the collective bargaining agreement. While the notoriously stingy McCaskeys are shelling out more money, it might be in their best interests to have the best football people spending their money on a new draft class, as well as in free agency.
The NFL has a number of top franchises who have built their teams from the ground up, while plugging in bargain free agents to keep them competitive every year. These teams have been playoff mainstays who are constantly reinventing themselves.
With the recent baseball front office hires in Chicago, one has to wonder if the Bears would have the vision to re-work their current front office model with Ted Phillips as president and Jerry Angelo as general manager. As long as the Bears are good enough to make the playoffs, things will probably remain the same, despite the revenue opportunities the Bears' brand is capable of in the Chicago market.
Here are some talented general managers, who along with their current staffs, would make Bears fans dream about potential NFC championships and Super Bowl berths every year. While it seems highly unlikely that these men would ever be available to the Bears, baseball fans would never have thought an executive the caliber of Theo Epstein would ever leave Boston for Chicago.